The Worst Thing I Learned in Audio School – From The Recording Revolution

Now here’s a fresh take on audio production – Graham Cochrane, founder of released this video this week in which he reveals something he learned in audio school that has been a hindrance to him:


I’m no recording or mixing wizard by any means, but I think he makes a DAMN good point here. I’ve certainly gone into recording sessions with the attitude of thinking that the overall sound would be found in the mix, rather than the capture. But this is faulty thinking. Mixing should be easy – when the mix engineer gets the session, the sound should already be well established, and the mix should consist of enhancing and balancing an already awesome sounding recording. The mix engineer’s job shouldn’t be to turn it into something it’s not.

I think there’s some engineer lore and legend partly to blame for this kind of thinking as well – stories of revered mixers transforming dull or bland recordings into magic with their wizard tools and some black magic techniques. But you are not them, and I’d be willing to bet that those stories are greatly exaggerated.

It’s hard in metal – so much of metal production is re-amping a dry DI signal and sample replacing drums in the mix stage, so it might seem like a waste of time to be concentrating so hard on those tones during tracking. But you still need to be doing QC all the time while recording, making sure the sound of the band is consistent and that you are really capturing the sound that you want on the final mix. You shouldn’t monitor your guitar tone with a Marshall Plexi modeler if you’re going to re-amp with an Engl.

So take care when tracking, and recording engineers, don’t be afraid to mix a little while tracking to really be sure to get the sounds you want. It’ll pay off in the long run.


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As Editor-in-Chief of Gear Gods, I've been feeding your sick instrument fetishism and trying unsuccessfully to hide my own since 2013. I studied music on both coasts (Berklee and SSU) and now I'm just trying to put my degree to some use. That's a music degree, not an English one. I'm sure you noticed.